Erin K. Schmidt
Tea and Water Pipe

The book Tea and Water Pipe was created in response to the senseless bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad in 2007. In this concertina book two layers of paper are bound together to create small architectural spaces that are visible through die cut lattice windows. A fictional character resides in this space, within the text. Each page of the concertina contains one brief thought. A weekly ritual of tea and water pipe. A celebration of friendship. A lament for a departed friend. As one mourns in silence, the text becomes nearly invisible. The repetition in text begins with two friends sharing tea and water pipe, and ends with one friend, alone in mourning, carrying on the weekly ritual that he and his friend once cherished. The back side of the concertina is filled with randomly selected pages of poetry by Al-Mutanabbi, the namesake of the bombed booksellers’ street. Like the rebuilt Al-Mutanabbi Street, these fragments of poetry have been reconstructed to create something new, but there will always be a much larger part that is missing.

Self published
3.75×5.25 inches, 2 pp, hand cut and die cut velum, inkjet printing on 250gsm Rives BFK, concertina with leather closure, 2013 (second edition)
Edition of 50 (second edition)
35 USD

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Erin K. Schmidt is a book artist living in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Her blend of image and text focuses on the intimacies generated within personal relationships and the sense of vulnerability attached to them. The quiet personal space of the book becomes emotionally recognizable and identifiable by the viewer. Her books have been exhibited internationally and can be found in private and public collections including Tate Britain, University of the West of England, Camberwell College of the Arts, and Saison Poetry Library.